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No victory song for Chennai Super Kings

It was obviously incredibly disappointing to go out before the semifinals of the Karbonn Smart Champions League T20 in South Africa. We’re used to success at the Chennai Super Kings, but it wasn’t to be this time.

We actually learnt out fate just before the game against the Mumbai Indians and it was quite tough to pick ourselves up for that game, knowing that we were already out of the tournament even before our final two games. That being said, the Mumbai Indians are old IPL rivals of ours and it was very important for the owners that we keep up our good record against them. Pride was very much at stake. So, to produce a great performance was important, and I was chuffed to play a part with my half-century.

I seem to play well against the Indian teams and it was even more satisfying doing it against a Mumbai side with so many stars. But, the disappointment of going out of the tournament perhaps overshadowed that. Coach Stephen Fleming took a decision to not sing our victory song after the game, because we were out of the tournament and I think he was right.

We shot ourselves in the foot by losing our first couple of games and, in a tournament like this, you just can’t do that. There’s just no time to recover.

I wasn’t surprised to see the Sydney Sixers qualify for the semifinals, because they looked the best team in the early games, with great balance to both their batting and bowling. With two South African teams and one Australian team qualifying for the semifinals, it is proof that the teams more accustomed to the conditions have been more successful, for obvious reasons. Those teams are used to hard, bouncy wickets. On top of that, the teams with good fast bowlers have done well, and you see that with Sydney, the Lions and the Titans. Then you throw in the Delhi Daredevils, who also have a good seam attack, with the likes of Morne Morkel, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar.

Unfortunately, the spinners haven’t featured much on these wickets, for obvious reasons, and that hurt us as it’s one of our strengths.

Delhi also have great experience and power in their batting, with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor and Mahela Jayawardene. Those are all class players. So, the Daredevils really do have great balance as well.

I’ve had just a few days off since we completed our campaign against Yorkshire, which was another dead rubber. I’ve just used the time to get some admin done, as Saturday sees us leave on our tour of Australia. Can’t believe it’s here already, and to have tours of both England and Australia in the same year is quite something. Australia will be a real test and I feel honoured to be able to experience it.

As I’m a test squad player, the big thing for me is to be ready, should the test team need me. So, that means training hard, honing my skills and taking everything in. I’m keen to learn and Australia is a great place to do that. We’ll have all our skills tested, as well as our temperament, so we need to be a tight unit as we were in England.

It’s a long way off right now, but a test series victory over Australia would be another huge achievement. We’ll be doing everything to try and tick that off our list.

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